Thursday, October 24, 2013

High Mass to Celebrate the Reformation

I have the Protestant Reformation on the brain--yes, that Reformation that started with Martin Luther nailing his theses on the Wittenberg door. I'm a Lutheran, after all, and Reformation Sunday is this Sunday. It's not a universally beloved high holiday. I remember meeting friends at a monastery one week-end and commenting about how strange it was to be spending Reformation Sunday with Catholics. My friend, a fellow Lutheran, said she hated Reformation Day and that she much preferred to be spending it with monks chanting the Psalms than with Lutherans singing robust, German hymns like "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God."

Yesterday a friend asked me if I'd be at spin class on Thursday.  I said, "Yes, but I'll be leaving quickly to get to a Reformation service."   She looked at me blankly.  I said, "Reformation Day celebrates Luther nailing his theses on the Wittenberg door which started the events that led to the break up of the Catholic church.  You didn't celebrate Reformation Day in your Catholic girlhood?"   And then we talked a bit about high holy days and festival services and guilt about going to church and not going to church.  Readers of this blog might be understandably confused.  They might say, "Didn't you recently write a blog post about choosing spin class over a county-wide Reformation service?"   Yes, I did.  But then I started thinking about how I wanted to go to the service.  I like our new Bishop.  I want to hear him preach.  I thought about the timing.  Spin class is over at 6:30, and the church where the service is being held is not that far away.  I could leave spin class a bit early, take a quick shower, and make it to church.    I plan to do just that.   I feel a bit of guilt because I plan to get my Reformation high that way.  I want Reformation Sunday to be a festival kind of feel.  I want extra glitz:  banners and choirs and brass and incense and streamers and lots of candles.  Yes, I realize the irony in saying that I want a high mass kind of thing.   But I do.  And I'm hopeful that I'll be more likely to get that in a service where the Bishop will preside.

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